Made a mistake installing new sod

Old 04-25-16, 05:08 PM
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Made a mistake installing new sod


A month ago, I installed 1000 sq ft of bluegrass sod in my backyard however I didn't consider doing one important thing and that was to rototill or Aerate my existing soil first. I rented a sod cutter, got rid of all the nasty old grass and brought it down to nothing but soil ,then leveled the ground the best I could and then laid the new sod. Now the new sod appears to have taken well and looks good, however when I look straight down at it, I still see several yellow blades in areas close to the soil level. I think maybe its still adjusting since its only 4-5 weeks installed. My question is, I'm sure the soil underneath the sod is very compacted since I didn't rototill it (my small yard has never been aerated or tilled), and is there a way to manually aerate it at this point without doing damage to the sod? I know its a lot of work ,but could I use a sharp spade shovel and gently slice 2-3" deep holes in some areas or is that a waste of time? I was reading that I wont be able to use an aerator on the new sod until about 6-12 mos. from now or I might damage the sod, but I don't know how the new sod will turn out this summer when it gets real hot if it doesn't put its roots way down. The other part of the equation is that I have two active kids under twelve and a 70lb dog continually running on it and 1000 sq. ft. area is not a huge space. I do however have an irrigation system which I'm glad for. Thanks for your reply's.
Old 04-25-16, 05:16 PM
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I think all you can do at this point is keep it well watered and aerate it when you can. As long as you water it deeply enough that the base soil is wet and not rock hard and dry, the sod should take.

Try to keep the kids and dog moving around (like that's a problem!) so they don't beat up one particular area too much.
Old 04-25-16, 05:27 PM
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Well its interesting that you said water it deeply, because that was my first thought also and I did initially water it until in about floated off my property, however I did some reading and many people say do NOT overwater it because the sod will become dependent on it. If you limit the watering, the roots will search for water and naturally push their roots deeper. If I do this, I just need to watch it carefully for areas that don't look healthy and then water at that point.
Old 04-25-16, 07:12 PM
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I was in southern NJ with all sand and saw people over water and wash all of the soil right off of the roots. Sod in NJ, in my time, was very skimpy on the amount of soil that came with it. At 4 to 5 weeks test a piece off to the side by lifting it to see if the roots have attached.

I definitely would not use a spade to attempt to aerate it. If anything a digging fork with tines.

Old 04-25-16, 07:35 PM
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Watering deeply means enough to penetrate the top soil about 3 inches. Best to do it twice a day so the first watering soaks deeper.
Old 04-26-16, 07:22 AM
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This may not be good advice for everyone with a small lawn that's subject to high intensity usage . . . . but if you want to aerate your underlying soil retro-actively, then you could introduce a small colony of earthworms to do it for you.

As long as you're not using any chemicals that would be toxic to them, they'll thrive in your lawn, burrowing deep into that hardpan that wasn't rototilled, and they'll make themselves scarce when they hear (or feel ) the vibrations of the Children or Dog making use of their habitat.

Worms will also fertilize the turf with their castings; and they'll draw Birds who'll feast on the less vigilant among them . . . . and the Birds will also fertilize the lawn.

Just a thought.

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